The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988


Placitas Elementary goes Green

The Placitas Elementary School Recycling Club collects plastic shopping bags to recycle and earn money.

Going green at Placitas Elementary School

Students in Mr. Sheehan’s Recycling Club are once again thinking green this school year by reducing, reusing, recycling, and remembering. The club has about twenty members from the fourth and fifth grades. The club typically meets one to two times a month to separate recycled items collected on the campus (newspaper, white paper, cardboard, plastics, and aluminum cans).

“[It is] amazing how much can be recycled at the school every couple weeks,” says Sheehan. The club usually concludes the meeting with an arts-and-crafts activity by using recycled items. It is also amazing what they can make out of an egg carton!

The club has also continued collecting plastic bags through the Wal-Mart Incentive Program. Last year, the club earned over $550 and received a bonus for being one of the top ten collecting elementary schools in New Mexico. “The community has been very supportive in dropping bags off at the school or the local recycling center,” says Sheehan.

This year, the club has teamed up with the Placitas Recycling Center. Center President John Richardson gave the students an orientation of the center this past November. Each student will volunteer one Saturday morning during the school year. “My main objective when I started the club last year was to give the students the opportunity to make a real difference in their school and community,” says Sheehan.

Vincent Sheehan is a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Placitas Elementary School.

Cowboy ideals to help kids make good choices

Cowboys & Kids, a program that uses the cowboy philosophy to encourage children to make positive choices in life, will be in Rio Rancho area schools next week. The “Cowboy Up” assembly will use American Cowboy and Western themes to draw students’ attention. Sharing the traits of cowboys—strong character and positive attitudes—will attempt to guide children to make the right choices in life.

The students will see the “Cowboy Up” presentation at Enchanted Hills and Vista Grande Elementary Schools. The program covers patriotism, western heritage, and the cowboy lifestyle using posters and interactive exhibits. The term “Cowboy Up” has become popular in Western arenas around the country as a saying to encourage people to be strong or tough. In this case, it will be used to teach kids to stick to the cowboy ideals and make good choices in life.

The Cowboys & Kids REACH Program will be led by Cowboys & Kids Representative Penny Conway, president and founder of Cowboys & Kids.

REACH assemblies instruct first- to eighth-grade students by presenting a western-themed program that has been effective and popular with students and teachers for the past seventeen years, reaching over one hundred thousand kids throughout the United States per year. For more information about the Cowboys & Kids REACH program, visit

Ruth Cerutti named principal of Roosevelt Elementary School

Bernalillo Public Schools has named Ruth Cerutti principal of Roosevelt Elementary School. Cerutti brings twenty-four years of experience and expertise in the educational field to Roosevelt.

“What an honor and a privilege it is to become the new principal of Roosevelt Elementary,” said Cerutti. “Early childhood education has always been a passion of mine and to lead this K-2 school feels like a dream come true.”

“I look forward to leading Roosevelt Elementary, where the staff and I will become a team and share in the decision-making process to ensure that all students become successful, life-long, autonomous learners at a child-centered, community-involved school.”

Cerutti holds three degrees from the University of New Mexico and holds licensures in the following areas: Administrative 3B (preK-12), Instructional Leader Level 3A, Elementary (K-8), Early Childhood (preK-3). Of her twenty-four years in education, Cerutti has spent twenty in the classroom for Albuquerque Public Schools.

Prior to her selection at Roosevelt Elementary School, Cerutti served five years as an instructional coach and administrative intern at Albuquerque Public Schools. Her experience in teaching has been in kindergarten for twelve years, first grade for two years, first/second multi-age for two years and first/second inclusion for two years.



• quacksalver (1579)—charlatan: “Charlotte and Henry bought a time machine from a quacksalver and they traveled back to the Dark Ages.”

• quadriga (1741)— a chariot drawn by four horses abreast: “Our one true God, F’zotnik, rode down to Earth from Heaven in a flaming quadriga and planted the seeds of Truth and Mischief.”

• quadrivium (1804)—a group of studies consisting of arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy, and forming the upper division of the seven liberal arts in medieval universities: “Lucius took one look at the quadrivium and immediately enrolled in trade school.”

• quadrumanous (1819)—having feet adapted for grasping: “The Las Vegas show Sloth de Soleil is a quadrumanous tour de force.”

• quaff (1523)—to drink deeply: “The knight removed his coif and quaffed from the bucket of wine.”

• quagga (1785)—an extinct mammal of southern Africa that resembled and was related to the zebras: “The bones of the quagga haunt the plain.”

• Quaker gun (1809)—a dummy piece of artillery usually made of wood: “From the air, our dozen Quaker guns looked like howitzers.”

• quandary (1579)—a state of perplexity or doubt: “Greg was in a quandary about which lie to believe.”

• quango (1973)—quasi-nongovernmental organization: “Vikki and I dance a mean, vigorous Blackwater Quango.”

• quantum leap (1956)—an abrupt change, sudden increase, or dramatic advance: “Try imagining the quantum leap we have thus far failed to imagine.”

• quarrelsome (1596)—apt or disposed to quarrel in an often petty manner: “My quarrelsome neighbor, Mr. Ragland, wouldn’t shut up about the leaves from my tree that fell into his yard.”

• quasimodo (1847)—Low Sunday (the Sunday following Easter): “Quasimodo is best spent playing golf.”

• quicksilver (1655)—mercury: “Redundancy is in. Drive the new Mercury Quicksilver today.”

• quidnunc (1709)—busybody: “Ever the quidnunc, Mrs. Spork pressed her ear to the apartment wall.”

• quiff (1890)—a prominent forelock: “High school hoods in the 1950s often sported quiffs.”

• quirt (1845)—a riding whip with a short handle and a rawhide lash: “Wearing no-nonsense but elegant ranchwoman garb, Henry, quirt in hand, entered the Halloween party dressed as actress Barbara Stanwyck.”

• QWER-TY (1929)—a standard typewriter keyboard: “The QWER-TY proves we humans can adapt to anything.”

Volunteer tutors needed to teach adults English

ReadWest is a nonprofit adult and family literacy agency that has been around for almost twenty years. They are a fully accredited agency, funded by United Way, the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy, Dollar General, and a variety of fundraising events and donations.

They are searching for volunteers, to whom they can provide free training, free materials, a safe place to tutor, assistance, and appreciation throughout the tutoring experience. The commitment is a two-hour session, once a week.

ReadWest has close to one hundred volunteers who work individually and collectively to serve over three hundred students each year. Currently, twenty students are waiting for a caring volunteer.

For further information on how you can get involved, contact Susan Ryerson, Executive Director, at 235-0714 or at

Children have a fun drawing activity at the Placitas Community Library. See article on their February Lunar New Year activity in the Night Sky section of this Signpost.

Share an afternoon with some of the original Placiteños


The San Antonio De Las Huertas (SADLH) Community Land Grant and the Placitas Community Library will cosponsor a presentation on the past, present, and future of the original settlers of Placitas. This will be a great opportunity to learn about the history, traditions, and life experiences since 1765 in the Placitas area. The gathering will take place at the Placitas San Antonio Mission Hall in the center of the Village on Paseo de San Antonio, February 24th at 2:00 p.m. Call the library at 867-3355 for specific directions. Biscochitos and cider will be served.

In January, the Sandoval County Commission officially signed the contract with architectural firm SMPC for your new library building. Programming and design phases will begin shortly. Please watch this column for news about community meetings and other opportunities for input. We intend to make this a beautiful, functional, green building which meets the needs of this community. In order to do that, we will need your participation.

Your tax dollars have been at work! Using County GO Bond funds, the library has been able to purchase a new color printer/copier. No longer will you need to fight endless paper jams, nor perform incantations to get the library copier to provide a simple copy! This copier can print on both sides, collate, scan, and fax. It is easier to use and provides laser quality black-and-white or color prints. Copies are ten cents for black-and-white and fifty cents for color.

The library book group meets at 4:00 p.m. on the first Monday of most months, barring holidays and snowstorms. This is an open group which welcomes drop-ins and loves new regulars. In February, they will discuss Maggie O’Farrell’s The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox; in March, they will discuss 1491 by Charles G. Mann. Please call the library at 867-3355 to confirm the time and location if you did not attend the last discussion. A list of the books this and many other Placitas book groups are reading in 2008 is available at the library and on our website at At least one copy of each of these titles is also available for check-out at the library.

Events at the Placitas Community Library:

Lunar New Year celebration—February 16, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.

An afternoon with original Placitas family members—February 24, 2:00 p.m. at the Mission Social Hall.

Library book group—4:00 p.m., the first Monday of the month. Call to verify date and location, 867-3355.

Preschool story time—10:00 a.m. Thursday, February 7 and Thursday, March 6

Bilingual story hour—3:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 20 and Wednesday, March 19. Please note new day for the bilingual story time for ages two through ten.

Library hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The library is located at 1 Tierra Madre in Placitas. For further information, call 867-3355 or visit

New Mexico’s largest photovoltaic array installed

Sacred Power Corporation, the largest Native American-owned solar integration manufacturer and contractor in the United States, recently installed a 70kW solar electric array at the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) located on Albuquerque’s west side.

This 70kW photovoltaic array is in the form of a roofing product on the school’s gymnasium, which is termed “a building-integrated photovoltaic array (BIPV)” by industry professionals. PNM’s 30kW photovoltaic array located in Algodones, New Mexico, was previously the state’s largest.

Odes Armijo-Caster, Vice President and COO of Sacred Power stated, “This is a significant opportunity to contribute to Albuquerque’s green initiatives. Additionally, it’s exciting to see the development of SIPI’s renewable energy curriculum and the facilities to teach firsthand how the technology works.”

Established in 1971, SIPI is a National Indian Community College and Land Grant Institution serving American Indian and Alaskan Native students. It’s the first tribal college in the country to establish a renewable energy curriculum. SIPI’s other renewable energy systems include a solar hot water heating system and a smaller photovoltaic system at the childcare facility as well the first tracking solar carport located at the new Science and Technology building.

“SIPI is preparing students for the technological workforce. When students see institutions practicing what they teach, I believe it enhances their learning experience. Not only is SIPI walking the talk, there is an added value in knowing they have created a renewable energy campus that directly contributes to the preservation of Mother Earth,” said David Melton, Laguna tribal member and CEO of Sacred Power Corporation.

Sacred Power was the lead contractor. Solar Integrated, a California-based company, manufactured the unique photovoltaic roofing product. The project was initiated and funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Sacred Power’s two Albuquerque locations are: 1) its corporate headquarters, located within the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center at 2401 12th Street NW, Suite 204-205, Albuquerque, NM 87104; and 2) their manufacturing facility at 815 Bellamah NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, which resides in a HUB Zone.

Teen girls invited to participate in filmmaking wilderness program

Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails, Inc. is launching a first-of-its-kind high-adventure program for girls in ninth through twelfth grades—Wheeler Peak Adventure: The Video. This program will give girls the opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing talents to create a film from start to finish, including researching, writing, musical scoring, editing, directing, producing, acting, and filming. The ultimate goal is to have a film with a fantastic story and professional quality visuals that the team will be able to share with people across the country.

Girls from northern and central New Mexico are welcome to participate. The program is being developed and led by Girl Scout volunteer Christina Frain, author and photographer of New Mexico Campgrounds: The Statewide Guide (Westcliffe Publishers, 2004).

Volunteers are needed to advise, teach, and/or participate in activities related to Wheeler Peak flora and fauna, history and politics of wilderness protection, geology, backpacking and wilderness survival skills, meteorology, GPS systems and software, or any aspect of film production.

The filming portion of this project is what makes it a true high-adventure program. A film crew will spend six days and five nights in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness, capturing the essence of the spectacular area—the flora, fauna, geology, weather, and the human experience and impact—on digital video. Girls interested in being a part of the film crew can complete a special application, separate from committing to work on the other aspects of the project, to be part of this select team.

To ensure that the program is open and accessible to girls throughout northern and central New Mexico, many of the meetings, training activities, and working sessions will be conducted live via video conference. Video conferences will be available from Farmington to Clovis and many sites in between.

For more information about this program or about volunteering, visit or contact Christina Frain at

Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails, Inc. serves more than five thousand girls in twenty-three counties in northern and central New Mexico. The council’s administrative headquarters is located in Albuquerque and service centers are located in Aztec and Santa Fe. Girl Scouts provides a variety of activities to help girls, ages five to seventeen, build courage, confidence, and character, which are key traits of leadership. Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails, Inc. welcomes all girls and adults to join the organization as members or volunteers. Contributions for programs, financial aid, or other organizational needs are welcome as well. To volunteer, join, or contribute, call (505) 343-1040 or (800) 658-6768.



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